Friday, September 25, 2015

History of Pashtun tribal settlements in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

 By Khan Barmazid

1-  In 11th century AD, Dilazak tribe of Afghans, from Karlanri division, migrated from Eastern Afghanistan and settled in the plain of Peshawar by crossing Khyber pass. Their advent was marked by no outrages or slaughter. The villages they found were few, the country poorly cultivated, and the people a quiet race, chiefly pastoral, and still unconverted. The Afghans did not expel them, but reduced them to a kind of servitude, contracting marriages with some of the chief families, and in a short time the Original inhabitants had become so incorporated with the more numerous and superior settlers, as to be lost sight of : they embraced the religion of Islam with readiness. The Dilazaks- by these marriages and new customs, which they adopted from their neighbours, separated themselves from the rest of their nation . Dilazaks under their leader, Malik Yayha Khan, had participated in the campaigns of Mehmud Ghaznavi in large numbers.

2-  Early in the 13th century, about the time of Shahab-ud-din Ghori, the Prangi and Sur tribes of the Lodi branch, with their kinsmen the Sarwani, migrated from present day Eastern Afghanistan and settled in the  the Dera Ismael Khan and Tank districts immediately under the Suleiman mountains .The Prangi and Sur tribes settled in the Daman country, at Tank and Rori while the Sarwani settled south of Luni in Draban and Chandwan and surrounding districts. With them came the Biluch (not to be confused with Baloch race), Khasor and other tribes who occupied the branch of salt range which runs along the right bank of the Indus river , and still hold their original location .

3-  During the reign of Shahab-ud-din Ghauri, the Mangal and Hani tribes, settled in Bannu district.

4-  The first settlement of the Khattaks was at Shawal valley in the North Waziristan, near the Pir Ghal peak. They thence moved eastwards to the Bannu and settled the Hani and Mangal tribes of Pashtuns, who then held it.

5-  The Mangal and Hani tribes were driven out by the Shitaks (Bannuchis), a clan allied to the Khattaks, also from Shawal valley,  during the 14th century. Mangals and some of the Hanis migrated to the mountains west of Khost and Kurram, where they are still located. 

6-  The Shitaks gradually drove back the weak Khattak communities previously settled along the left bank of the Kuram. The Khattaks thus pressed from behind gradually spread over the southern portion of the Kohat district.

7-  The whole Bangash tribe at first settled in the Kuram valley. In the beginning of the 15th century they gradually moved down into Miranzai and eventually ousted the Orakzais from the country about Kohat. They appear to have done this in alliance with the Khattaks, who were simultaneously invading the Kohat district from the south. The Orakzais previously held as far as Reysi on the Indus. The Khattaks took the eastern country, Reysi, Pattiala and Zera; the Bangashes took the valley of Kohat. This occupation had been probably completed prior to the time of Babar's invasion in AD 1505.

8-  Niazis initially occupied an area in the district Shilghar , situated to the south of Ghazni. When the Ghilzai became numerous, they drove the Niazis to the eastward . Niazis journeyed South until they came to the Tank in 15th century. There they found rest and their young men became merchants and carriers. They subsequently spread farther to North-East , towards the Indus and dwelt in the sandy tracts of Thal. 

9-  In the late 15th century, the Khashi tribes i.e Yusufzais, Gigianis, and Mohammedzai tribes entered the Peshawar plain, from Jalalabad, by the Tartara route at Spirsang, when they begged from the Dilazaks for a portion of land on which to settle. This was granted, and the new comers settled down in Doaba.

10-  The Khashi tribes didnt remain long on these terms and broke the faith. Yousafzais under their chief Malik Ahmed , joined by Gigyanis, Mummadzais and Utman Khels, declared war on Dilazaks. A great battle was fought in 1515 AD, on the north side of Swat river in which Dilzaks were routed with great slaughter , and fled precipitately to Hazara.The Gigianis received the Doaba as their portion ; to the Muhammadzai was assigned Hashtnagar ; and to the Yousafzai the remainder of the country North of the Kabul river. The Utman Khels were placed in the hills about the Swat river, and these tribes still retain the allotments then assigned to them.The Dilazaks were excellent archers, the Yusufzai notorious swordsmen, and, observing the havoc caused by the, flights of arrows at a distance before the Yusufzai could close, Malik Ahmed sewed several hides together, under the shelter of which large bodies advanced uninjured, and speedily put the enemy to flight after great slaughter. The plain of Peshawar, South of the Kabul river, still continued in possession of the Dilazaks

11-  But the Yusufzais were bent on further conquest, and prepared to take possession of Swat, moving for that purpose to Shakot. The Swatis were all assembled at the Mora Pass, and the Afghans advancing to the foot of the hills, made as if they would attack at once. But at night they made a rapid turn to the Malakhand Pass, leaving their women in the camp, whose music and singing during the night concealed from the enemy their' plans ; the rising sun discovered the glittering swords of the invaders, who had crowned the Pass, and suddenly fell upon the astonished Swatis, who offered but a weak resistance; thus the Yusufzais took possession of Lower Swat, the inhabitants of which partly remained as cultivators of the Afghans, but most fled to the Pakhli valley of Hazara. Upper Swat was not at this time taken, but remained independent under its Sultan. The Turklanris at this time separated from the Yusufzais and took a portion of Bajour. .

12-  Basul, Jalalabad and Laghman thus evacuated by the Khashi Afghans, came into the possession of the Ghoria Khel tribes, which comprised the Khalils, Mohmands and Daudzais : they likewise began to occupy the hills between Lalpura and the Peshawar valley, now the seat of the Upper Mohmands.

13-  In 1553, Mughal Humayun rebuilt the fort at Peshawar which the Dilazaks had destroyed in 1530 AD. A strong garrison was placed in it under the command of Sikander KhanUzbek : and the fort was provisioned with the grain of the neighboring Dilazaks. The latter soon afterwards attacked it, but were repelled by the Uzbek commander. In the following year Humayun recrossed the Indus on his road to Delhi. . After his departure the Ghorai Khel Afghans, consisting of the Khalil, Mohmand and Daudzai tribes, entered the plain of Peshawar, and, ousting the Dilazaks, took possession of the districts in which they are now located, and to which they gave their names. The Dilazaks were driven across the Indus.

14-  In 1556 A.D , the Nuhanis (Marwats, Daulat Khels, Miya Khels and Taturs) attacked Prangis and Suris who were settled in Daman (Tank) since Shahab-ud-din Ghauri times.. So fierce was the battle that the Prangis were almost decimated , and what little survived joined their kinsmen in Hind. Suris were also pushed down to Punjab and other regions of Hind. The Luhanis thus became the sole possessors and owners of Gomal valley and Daman. The acquired territory of Tank tract was divided into four equal shares amongst the four Nuhani tribes which had taken part in the battle against the Prangis.  Daulat Khel, Kati Khel and Haider Khel got themselves settled in Tank while Yaqub khel were settled at Dabara, a town near Tank city. Tatur khel were settled at Tatur (near Tank). Marwats gave their lands on lease to Daulat khel , their permanent houses were in Waziristan. In the same period, Miya Khel clan of Nuhanis and Bakhtiyars attacked Sarwanis and dispossessed them from Drahban.

15-  In the same period , the Babar, a section of Shirani tribe, descended from the mountains about Takht-i-Sulieman into the plains below and subjugated the Jat and Baloch population.

16-  In late 16th century ,Wana and Makeen were captured by Wazir and Mehsud tribes from Marwats. As a consequence Marwats came down to Tank for permanent settlement in the beginning of 17th century, some time around 1602. As soon as Marwats migrated to Tank in toto, they demanded return of their lands given on lease to Daulat Khels. The later refused to do so. This compelled the Marwats to draw daggers at them , and after a few skirmishes defeated the Daulat Khels and ousted them from Tank. The dispossessed Daulat Khels led by Shehbaz Khan Kati Khel got help from Gandapurs and Babars,  and attacked the Marwats, who were defeated. The Daulat khels regained possession and took the share of the Marwats. The Marwats crossed Pezu pass, took advantage of internal dissensions amongst the Niazais, swarmed northward into Lakki Thal and attacked Niazis settled there. They drove their Niazi kinsmen east of Tang Darra into Mianwali, and erected their black tents on the banks of the Kuram and Gambila, squatted there as graziers. The Bhittanis were dispossessed of their territories in South Waziristan by Mehsuds and they occupied the hills on the west border of Tank and Bannu.

17-  Early in the 18th Century, on the expulsion of the Karlugh Turks by Syed Jalal Baba, Jadoons crossed the Indus and appropriated the country about Dhamtour, and about hundred years later they took the Bagra tract from the remaining few Dilazaks who held it, while shortly before the Sikhs took the country their Hassanzai clan deprived the Karral of a portion of the Nilan valley. The Tarin Afghans appear to have come to Hazara at the invitation of the Gujars, the ancient inhabitants of the region, whom they gradually supplanted. Tarins occupied the plains in the Haripur District, entirely stamping out a large portion of the Gujars of the area. The Gujars invited Utmanzais from across the Indus, against Tarins. But Utmanzais appropriated the Gandgarh tract along the bank of river from Gujars. The Mashwanis were attached to Utmanzais as retainers. They accompanied Utmanzais and occupied Srikot.

18- About the middle of 18th century, the Ushtarani proper, a Syed tribe affiliated to the Shirani Afghans, having quarreled with the Musa Khel, acquired the good deal of plain country below the hills at the foot of which they still live, subjugating the Baloch inhabitants and encroaching northwards upon the Babars.

19- The last great wave of colonists from the west was that of the Darwesh Khel Wazirs. Between 1750 and 1775 the Jani Khel and Bakka Khel sections of the Wazirs, seized the Miri grazing lands, lying between the Tochi (Gambila) and the hills. The Muhammad Khels and Ahmadzai clans of Wazirs next took possession of the stony ground at the mouth of the Kuram Pass, and soon after other Ahmadzai's began to occupy the Thal beyond the left bank of the Kuram, driving off the Khattak and Marwat grazing camps they found there.


1- Hugh R. James, Report on the Settlement of the Peshawar District (1865)
2- "Afghanistan and its inhabitants" translation of Muhammad Hayat Khan's book by Henry B Priestley_1874 (reproduced by Sang-e-Meel Publications_Pakistan_1981
3-  Horace Arthur Rose, A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-Wes
4-  Gazetteer of the Kohat District
5- Gazetteer of the Bannu District
6-  Gazetteer of the Dera Ismael Khan District
7-  Gazetteer of the Hazara District